Jordan Gronkowski’s weekend has been derailed by a gearbox failure during Scottish Formula Ford 1600’s season-opening race, leaving him unsure as to whether he’ll re-emerge for race two this afternoon.
Having come less than a tenth of a second from beating eventual first race winner Ross Martin’s pole time, Gronkowski held second place during the opening laps before grinding to a halt with a gearbox problem.
Having lost all power, he failed even to reach pit-lane, pulling over and retiring on the spot.
“I’ve got no gears,” he explained.
“I was just changing down into the hairpin, coming into third gear and got a box of neutrals. The selecting arm is all there, but it doesn’t do anything, so just had to roll to a stop. I couldn’t even make it back to the pits.
“It was on the down change, going from fourth to third, and then there was nothing after that, the engine revs just died away and that was it.”
His family team has set to work on repairing the damaged gearbox, but Gronkowski is still uncertain whether he will return for race two later today.
“My dad’s going to strip it [out] just now, and it depends what’s broken. If it’s a 25 pence pin we can replace that, but if it’s something more terminal then obviously it will knacker our day.
“At the end of the day, that’s racing, isn’t it. There’s no point jumping and swearing and shouting about it. It’s what happens.”
Despite a disappointing end to his first competitive FF1600 race of 2018, Gronkowski was optimistic regarding his pace, feeling dominant race winner Martin was catchable.
“Ross had a fantastic start, he was just away. I was a bit slippery for the first couple of laps.
“It was just starting to come to me there, I could feel the grip in the car, started to lean on it a bit more.
“The gap to Seb [Melrose] was starting to increase, so I was getting my sights on Ross to see if I could reel him in and maybe get some fastest laps. But it wasn’t to be.”
Race two at Knockhill kicks off at 15:35 this afternoon, giving Gronkowski’s team approximately three hours in total to repair his damaged gearbox.
Photo courtesy of Alasdair Lindsay